NFL trade deadline: How Josh Uche's injury could impact potential deal originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
If you're looking for the New England Patriots to make a splash before Tuesday afternoon's NFL trade deadline, you probably will be disappointed.
The Patriots do have a bunch of players that they could look to move ahead of the deadline, most notably guys who have expiring contracts. That group includes wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, running back Ezekiel Elliott, left tackle Trent Brown, linebacker Josh Uche and safety Kyle Dugger, among others.
If the Patriots don't view any of these players as long-term fits, then it makes sense to trade them instead of seeing them leave in free agency for nothing. The problem is the return for these players likely won't be great. That begs the question: If all you're going to get is a fifth-round pick or worse, should you just keep these guys and figure out whether to extend them in the offseason?
There could be one exception, though, and that's Josh Uche. The talented pass rusher tallied 11.5 sacks in a breakout 2022 season. But in 2023, he has failed to make much of an impact with two sacks in six games.
Among potential Patriots trade candidates, Uche reportedly is drawing the most interest from rival teams ahead of the deadline, and our insider Phil Perry explained the reason for that Sunday during Patriots Pregame Live.
"Now, Josh Uche is the one player that people tell you maybe he has a little bit more value than most because of the position he plays, because of the premium skill set," Perry said. "And even if he's just a third-down pass rush specialist for whatever team decides to trade for him, that has value even for the best defenses in the NFL on truly contending teams."
One concern for opposing teams interested in Uche is his injury. The University of Michigan product dealt with an ankle/toe injury this week and won't play in Sunday's Week 8 road game against the Miami Dolphins.
"What I've been told is Josh Uche was legitimately limited all week in practice this week," Perry said. "He is not playing here today. He would have loved to play here. This is home for Josh Uche, the Miami area. But I'm told the injury that he's dealing with is legit.
"And so that would make it, in my opinion, even more difficult to trade your most tradable trade piece. Now, all it takes is one team. There may be a team out there that's willing to give up a third- or fourth-round pick for Josh Uche, and it wouldn't stun me if the Patriots said yes, go ahead and let's pull the trigger on that one. But you're dealing with an injury. You're talking about a 10-game rental. I'm not sure the return is going to be there for Bill Belichick, who wants to win as many games as he can this season."
The Patriots own a 2-5 record entering Sunday's Week 8 game against the rival Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. A loss to the Dolphins could potentially drop New England to last place in the entire AFC, depending on the outcome of other games this week.
Selling at the trade deadline is hard to do, especially for a team like the Patriots that is used to being a buyer around this time of the year. But the reality is the reality. The Patriots aren't a playoff-caliber team, so if they can get assets for players who likely won't be back next season, those moves are worth pursuing.